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Men Go For Skirts

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Japanese men are finally breaking through one of the few remaining fashion taboos: men wearing skirts and dresses.

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I saw this trend as early as 2004 and 2005 (see the four images at the bottom), but there is a big difference between then and now. In those days men usually had to make do somehow if they wanted to wear skirts, dresses or dress-like garments.

Some men still use creative solutions like wearing a traditional kaftan (see below left), but now established brands also offer skirts and dresses specifically made for men.

Japanese Street Fashion
A kaftan (left) is a creative solution to the dearth of male skirts and dresses. The person on the right wears a dress made by Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garçons.

Japanese Street Fashion — Male Skirts
Skirts. The one on the right is by Comme des Garçons.

Japanese Street Fashion — Male Skirts
In 2005, some men still had to resort to wrapping shirts around their waist (right) to make them look like skirts.

Japanese Street Fashion — Male Skirts & Dresses
Back in 2005 Yohji Yamamoto used to sell a dress for men that was advertised as a “long sweater” (left). These days it could be sold as a dress without men feeling uncomfortable about it.

I am wondering whether it is easier for Japanese men to break through this taboo than it is for many Western men. After all, Japanese men are used to wearing the dress-like yukata.

The yukata virtually disappeared from the Japanese street scene after the end of WWII, but it has become very popular again among young men during the past ten years.

Yukata for men
Young men wearing fashionable modern yukata.

What is your take on this?

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Only makes sense. I’d love to see yukata and formal kimono make an even bigger comeback. In particular, the slender hips on Japanese men holds up the shape perfectly.

I think the Yohji Yamamoto sweaterdress on the chap eating is beautiful.

Katie
Nov 17, 2009 (2810 days ago)

I live in Florida, USA and have been wearing skirts and jumpers full time since 2005 except for at Jury Duty where the (female) Judge insists that men wear trousers or face “contempt of court” charges. Women in her court can wear whatever they please.

It’s getting popular here much slower than in Japan, Usually only in extreme fashion shows and in small sites like http://skirts4men.myfreeforum.org/ which is a talk site for like minded “manly” men who prefer an “unbifurcated” garment over a “bifurcated” one. ie: trousers. Bifurcated = 2 holes for 2 legs, Unbifurcated = 1 hole for 2 legs. We refer to what we wear as M.U.G.s or Male Unbifurcated Garments.
I love the release from TTT…TTT = Trouser and Tie Tyranny. I don’t miss the torture chamber that most men call a “Crotch” at all. Who really needs a saw edged cloth weapon sawing thru your “little guys” every time you sit or walk. That problem doesn’t exist in a skirt, Thank the powers that be.
Much of the “WEST” is still stuck in a “self-effacing, follow the leader” mentality left for us by the Victorian mentality that we MUST fight our way out of and back into fashion freedom. :)

SkirtedMan
Nov 18, 2009 (2808 days ago)

i like the formal dresses, but the modern ones not so much… though the long sweater is adorable C:
i think the ‘dresses’ in 2005 looked better than now…

Jini
Nov 18, 2009 (2808 days ago)

Why not? Skirts are more comfortable for men.

Jürgen (Germany)
Nov 20, 2009 (2806 days ago)

Men in skirts makes my heart beat so hard. As long as they wear skirts that fit them well it’s one of the sexiest things next to glasses and kimono. More of this please!

Yanni
Dec 15, 2009 (2781 days ago)

Skirts and dresses are the most healthy and cofortable wardrobe for men. Men of today have to get over the old fashion style and have to try really new ways of dressing.
It is time to get out of uniformized and pant”izid” culture which causes most ‘modern’ male diseases

martinus
Jan 20, 2010 (2745 days ago)

wow that’s awkward… makes them look short

Jackie Wake
Jan 31, 2010 (2734 days ago)

I like men in skirts. They are different and much nicer, more frankly, hard to describe. Short skirts are fine, but not too short. Would recommend to shave legs.

breanne
Feb 2, 2010 (2732 days ago)

i think its super sexy. i can’t wait until the asian cookies in nyc take up the style!! i’d die of joy~

Ren
Mar 28, 2010 (2678 days ago)

@Ren: None so far?

Kjeld Duits (author)
Mar 28, 2010 (2678 days ago)

@Kjeld Dutis & @Ren ::

A hispanic male may be the first to do this not only in NYC but in New Jersey and Philadelphia. I always wanted to try one but due to the family that I have to deal with what’s normal and what’s not…Yeah…It will be a bit difficult. Either way I like the Idea. Only in a black color though if it has like a plaid print or a Kanji character print.

Either or…its fine with me.

a*@rayis
Apr 2, 2010 (2673 days ago)

@a*@rayis: I used to own a Greek kaftan when I was in high school. My father was dead set against me leaving the house when I wore it, so I totally understand where you’re coming from. What makes you think that hispanic males are more open to this trend?

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 2, 2010 (2673 days ago)

I am male and having been wearing skirts and kilts for years – they are so stylish and comfortable. I hope that more guys will start to wear skirts in the USA. I prefer ankle-length skirts, especially broomstick skirts, which are so much fun to dance in. I love wearing skirts to concerts, festivals, parties, etc. I get lots of great compliments from the Ladies. My blog is all about guys in skirts (click on the link).

Skirty
Apr 9, 2010 (2666 days ago)

@Skirty: As I just commented on your blog, I admire your guts. I think in a macho society like the US it requires a lot more courage than it does in Harajuku, Tokyo. Go for it, man!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 9, 2010 (2666 days ago)

@Kjeld – Thanks so much for the comment! Yes, I am a bit nervous wearing my skirts out but so far it I have received only positive comments. However, I am selective on where I wear my skirts – concerts, parties, etc. Contra Dancing is a kind of folk dancing with partners that is pretty open to guys in skirts. At many dances, you may find a couple guys wearing long skirts or kilts. Some of the the dances have “Men in Skirts” dances when they encourage men to try a skirt on for dancing. I have worn a three-tiered skirt to a Contra Dance and had lots of fun spinning and twirling in my skirt. The Ladies gave me lots of support like “Cute Skirt!” and “That skirt looks great on you!” I will keep posting about guys in skirts and hope that the USA becomes more accepting of guys in skirts in the future.

Skirty
Apr 9, 2010 (2666 days ago)

@Skirty: Yes, I watched some of the video clips on your blog and was surprised to see guys in skirts. I always thought of contra dancing as something very macho, leather cowboy boots and hats and that kind of thing. The poster or flyer that you posted specifically mentioning “Men in Skirts” was a surprise, too. What also surprised me is how huge these events are—I had no idea they were that popular. Hope to see a lot of you at JAPANESE STREETS! I am sure we will post more photos of men in skirts and I hope they will inspire you.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 9, 2010 (2666 days ago)

It is just great when men taking advantage to go skirted. Hard to understand that some men still thinking in old ways. I am a full supporter for mens skirts and dresses, the new male fashion shows what is really possible to get out of the grey, super boring pant-dress style.

martinus
May 1, 2010 (2644 days ago)

@martinus: It will be very interesting to see if this is a trend or the start of a paradigm shift.

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 1, 2010 (2644 days ago)

Kjeld, I only can talk about my environment, little bit north of Detroit. I am a every day skirt wearer, and wherever I go I got and still get very nice comments from both, men and women. It is like they were waiting for this signal that somebody would start going out of uniformed and grey herd.
And I am VERY public every day. For most people around me it is “normal” that i am going skirted. So far I saw only one man recently in a skirt.

martinus
May 14, 2010 (2631 days ago)

@martinus: Cool! Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 14, 2010 (2631 days ago)

I have been wearing kilts for 6 months now almost everyday. Women love them., I get a few silly comments from guys. ( who wish they had the balls to wear one) I have nation kilts , Utilikits, Alpha Kilts and more. If you think about it it makes sence for a guy in skirts.
Tommy

tommy
Sep 8, 2010 (2514 days ago)

My site has a pdf file re society persecuting women in pants AND a history of men in skirts tyrannical judges are documented from the extensive public record also restaurants, schools, churches and more. PSYCHIATRY is the BIG ENEMY of our style freedom!

Charles
Sep 8, 2010 (2514 days ago)

Look for the spring fashion for women and you’ll see a lot of men’s clothes and helpful advises for women how to wear it. Now think opposite, all what women can wear use it with a manly touch (advise for women: use men’s wear with a feminine touch). I think we are on the right way to go equal, don’t you think?
I am still wearing my very manly styled skirts, maybe I should change a little bit, too.

martinus
Sep 13, 2010 (2509 days ago)

I love wearing dresses or skirts and hope that the fashion can go international and accepted internationally.

Adam Spancer
Oct 10, 2010 (2482 days ago)

That female judge in Florida should be ousted from the bench for letting women wear more than men!

David
Dec 10, 2010 (2421 days ago)

Adam, when you go out in public with your dresses and skirts it is international because you and all men which era changing to skirted garments make the difference. There will be nowhere a law written that “allows” men to do what they want to do, there are only laws which will forbid things which are against other pele, societies or humans. And there is no law existent that will forbid using skirted garments by men.
David, even a judge can’t do anything when people resist. I have a nice neighbor, and in other community dogs must be leashed when outside of the house. His do is always leashed but nobody has the leash in hand. And nobody can do anything about because he is following the law.
So? In case of Florida judge, all men should come in skirts because ..

Mara
Dec 13, 2010 (2418 days ago)

Finally !!! Seems men start to get more brave these days.

Gary
Feb 13, 2011 (2356 days ago)

Elegante!

I am Rommel Werneck. I am the writer of first Brazilian blog about kilts.

Rommel Werneck
May 2, 2011 (2278 days ago)

Pants were spread about by horseback riding. How many men use that transportation today? Skirts are sex neutral. Ask men from ancient Sumeria to modern Fiji.

Charles
Sep 6, 2011 (2151 days ago)

@Charles: Great point!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Sep 6, 2011 (2151 days ago)

I have found a new freedom in wearing a skirt and stockings. Stockings are essential in colder weather to keep legs warm, as knee length socks are too cold. Remind me of the traditional schoolboy shorts hitched up with braces (suspenders if in the US). I wear the classic stocking types that require suspenders (a garter belt in the US) as I react to those latex bands inside ‘hold-ups’, which don’t, hence the suspenders. I find this all rather interesting as a lady friend who wears a suit with pinstripe trousers wears braces as they make her rear look more shapely. What we all do to be chic and fashionable, sort of!

henri f
Dec 12, 2011 (2054 days ago)

@henri: Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading about you and your friend breaking through gender stereotypes. What we all do to be chic and fashionable, sort of! — Yes, truly!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 12, 2011 (2054 days ago)

Yes,guys wear skirts.And i am one of them that wears a skirt to work and when im not at work i will wear one.I just dont see what the big deal is.For me wearing a skirt is as normal as brushing my teeth.Dont give it much thought.Prior to WWII women could be arrested and jailed for appearing in public in pants in most U.S. States.
With the onset of the war women went to work in the factories, dressesd and skirts were not practical and sometimes even dangerous. So women began wearing pants to work and it grew from there. So it has only been for around 70 years. One other note is that boys here in America also wore dresses, boys up to 15 yrs. of age, although some or most boys were “Breeched” by 9 years of age. Breeching was when boys were changed over to pants.When a women says she want to wear a pair of pant, society celebrates her right for equality, but when a man say he wants to wear a skirt, his gender identity is brought into question. No one says a woman is crossdressing in pants, no one says that she is a lesbian, so why do we think these things of men. Attitudes towards men’s fashion is extremely sexist and restrictive.Skirts like pants are not “gender specific” like a bra thus are largely unisex! Anyone can wear them but of course there are styles better suited for men and women. Ever notice how women in pants still look like women yet a guy in a skirt will be accused of “cross dressing” or worse yet it is IMPOSSIBLE for women to “cross dress” because they already wear everything from the mans side of the wardrobe. The word should be banned as sexist.

Blake
Jan 2, 2012 (2033 days ago)

@Blake: Thank you for sharing. It is time for men’s emancipation. Unfortunately, men’s greatest opponent are other men. Usually not women.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jan 2, 2012 (2033 days ago)

Last week I was in Tokyo. As a guy, I decided to wear skirts all my free time. I got three of them. Orange Cotton maxi, brown leather maxi, and a denim mini. I got no “he’s crazy” looks, very few “What the hell?” looks, but mostly nobody cared, and I even got few congrats. The mini I wore only the last evening with a green purse, and people did not care either. I’m glad to have this experience of attractiveness. But now I am stuck in my Central European reality. Ppl would kill me for that at the first corner!!!

Marcin
May 23, 2012 (1891 days ago)

Here is my view of it all and a little about me

The people I have come in contact with—95% of them women, of many ages, love what I wear. Just recently, I was coming out of the grocery store, and there were 3 girls going into the store at the same time as I was leaving. One yelled back to me, “Hey,i really like your outfit”. I said “Thanks.” Then she said “You are welcome, you look so good in that skirt” It put a smile on my face. I rarely get a negative comment, but it's always nice to hear the positive…..

So can you guess the age of the person that said this? Well , the girl that said that was in the age range of 14-17…. She could have easily said a derogatory comment, but she didn't. So this goes to show ya, people of many ages like to see a guy wear a skirt tastefully done, it is all about your body language, how you talk, and other things as well.

But I know, not ALL women like a guy in a skirt, and I understand that. There is always an exception to every rule.

For me to wear a skirt is like putting on socks, I dont give it much thought. It feels totally natural to me to be in a skirt. When people are unsure, they will say to me “nice kilt”. I will kindly say to them, “This is actually a skirt, a kilt is a TYPE of skirt “ I think they say that for fear of offending me, lol…

Clothes are a personal expression in clothing style and personality. If it fits, WEAR IT. Wear what you feel comfortable with and let’s stop gender discrimination. I enjoy wearing skirts. Most people are fine with that. Men who have a problem with men wearing skirts (a kilt is same diff) are loud bullyish men who lack confindence in their own sexuality and cover up their insecurity by attacking others. So many men today live comfortable lives transporting themselves from their cozy homes, to their climate controlled cars, and into their environmentally shielded workspaces. Their female counterparts, transgressed long ago into the once male-dominated career lifestyle, are comfortably donning non-bifurcated garments as they go off to work and play.

The idea of men wearing skirts in today’s sex polarized society is a hot subject in certain corners of the Internet. Is it cross-dressing or is it the reemergence of an old-world fashion trend? The topic is frequently debated in various Internet discussion groups and forums. For the most part, there is relatively widespread interest and at least moderate acceptance of the ‘men wearing skirts’ idea in one form or another. The indisputable fact about skirts is that they are extremely comfortable to wear for both men and women.

If one follows the cardinal rule of design; “form follows function”, then it is obvious that the idea of restricting men from wearing skirts today is largely a fashion argument. Just as the idea of women wearing pant’s can equally be argued as fashion in most casual living situations. The idea of skirts made for men is both a new and old concept. A “ KILT “ is a skirt. It's a type of skirt. It sounds more manly to say “KILT” instead of “skirt”. I find this sooo funny…. Straight guys are so hung up about gay crap… it doesnt make you gay, daaamn. It's like if I were to say “I'm wearing dress shoe’s” well, there are many KINDS of dress shoes. Same goes for skirts. (With dress shoes I mean like for a suit and so on.)

Pants were not widely used by any society more than three hundred years ago. Pants were originally an invention to make it easier to ride a horse. The NY Times of May 27, 1876 p.6 editorial “A Curious Disease” said women in trousers needed treatment in “the best conducted hospitals for the insane.” Later comes WWII and puts 17 million women into pants, breaking psychiatry’s curse on women of being stuck in skirts. That curse still binds on men however. Psychiatry is extremely toxic to all human liberties. Slaves that wanted freedom had “drapetomania.”

Roman soldiers were excessively masculine and wore skirts. Trousers are a horse back riding invention. Skirts and trousers are style differences never sex differences. Sex differences occur in anatomically distinct items like athletic supporters and bras. Men are senselessly denied human rights in clothing. This is the fault first of psychiatry and second, of religious fanaticism. So this is the year 2013? Am I correct? Just the closed mind phobia people,,,it's sad…The Unitarian church is a haven for these conformist racketeers who call themselves “mental health professionals.” I wore a skirt to one of their churches and a man there told me I was “cross-dressing.” I handed him a copy of an old NY Times article (one of MANY) showing him the bad things people used to say of women in pants. He REFUSED to look at it!

Well it’s about time that men are able to wear skirts or whatever they wish as have women for the last 60 years. I feel it’s time for unisex for both women and men. Thank God for the work of H&M, IT’S TIME TO REMOVE stereotyped clothing and just have people clothing with no gender just unisex. I know that you're thinking that guy is gay, and you would be wrong. I’m not gay or Bi. I’m sick to death with the some old stereotyped male clothing as women have been sick of being stereotyped the last 40 years, it’s about EQUALITY in Fashion. Clothes do not make a change in sexual behavior nor do they change the sexes. Skirts are an UNISEX garment, and only women were be able to use it because men were not brave enough to get out of a ROLE which isn’t a rule or law. Changes are around the corner….. if people can see a corner, of course.

“Live your life like the way YOU want it because you only have one chance at it”

Blake
Jul 3, 2013 (1485 days ago)

@Blake: Thanks for sharing, Blake.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jul 3, 2013 (1485 days ago)

@Blake: Oh, I see now that you commented last year, too. We’ll have to make this an annual event. ^_-

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jul 3, 2013 (1485 days ago)

I forgot to bookmark it

Blake
Jul 3, 2013 (1485 days ago)

@Blake: Hey, a once a year comment sounds good to me. By the way, I edited your comment a little so it’s easier to read. The solid block of text was a bit intimidating. ^_-

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jul 3, 2013 (1485 days ago)

Las faldas por anatomia, le favorecen mas a los varones.Las faldas, y los vestidos con falda para los caballeros estan de moda, y ademas por salud, y comodidad son una necesidad. El pantalon y sus accesorios son una tortura; ninguna parte del cuerpo de un varon se magulla, o se maltrata tanto como los genitales; y luego padecen de: impotencia, esterilidad, problemas de prostata, y posiblemente cancer del testiculo. Las ingles de los hombres son muy maltratadas, por el tiro del pantalon, elcalzoncillo boxer, y el cinturon (que sirve de torniquete, y produce mala irrigacion sanguinea, afectando el aparato digestivo, el sistema urinario, el aparato reproductor, y mucho mas. Lo mas indicado para vestirce un hombre es una falda o un vestido con falda; asi protegera su virilidad
Las molestias, y las incomodidades que produce el uso del pantalon produce irritabilidad, enojo e ira.
La tortura que produce el pantalon, y sus accesorios(calzoncillo boxer, la correa o cinturon que sirve de torniquete, y el tiro, que tira, lacera y lastima por delante o por detras, pero de todos modos tira, hala, e incomoda todo el tiempo); hacen que los hombres se comporten con agresividad, pues no se dan cuenta de donde proviene su malestar e insatisfaccion. El pantalon y sus aperos parecn mas unsistema tortuoso de castidad, que una prenda de vestir. Lo mas adecuado, comodo y saludable para vestirce un varon es una falda o un vestido con falda. El pantalon es un atropello contra la virilidad. La falda es todo, salud y comodidad y virilidad

raulf
Sep 12, 2013 (1415 days ago)

please update

rk jain
Mar 2, 2014 (1243 days ago)

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